Authored by Suzanne Alicie in Parenting
Published on 08-06-2009
Many mothers despair about increasing their baby’s appetite. Whether breast fed, bottle fed or solid food babies, there are guidelines concerning the amount of food a baby takes in daily. Based on what the doctors and friends tell them a baby should be eating they try to make sure their baby eats that much. However what it really comes down to is that every baby is different and has his or her own metabolism. Unless your child is failing to thrive, a lack of appetite or eating less than you think they should is not cause for concern.
Just as a child will sleep as much as it needs to, unless there is a health problem they will also eat as much as they need to. Many babies go through phases or growth spurts where they have an increased appetite for a few months and then it drops off. Parents become accustomed to this healthy eating pattern and get concerned when the baby suddenly has no interest in food. This is normal and a regular part of child development. Just as an adult goes through times where food is the last thing on their minds, babies do the same. Also, just as an adult will eat when they are hungry a baby will do the same.
This is not to say you shouldn’t check with your pediatrician if you are concerned about your baby’s eating habits. If the baby is losing weight or displaying other problems there could be a health complication that is keeping him or her from eating.
To make sure that your baby eats enough you can provide a lot of healthy snacks throughout the day. This will give them energy and nutrients they need even if they don’t eat large meals. Some parents prefer to stick to meals, but you would be surprised at what babies will eat while they are playing without the hassle of a high chair or spoon feeding. Babies enjoy using their hands and finger foods are fun for them.
Active babies use more energy than babies who spend most of their time sitting in a swing or playpen. Get your baby out and exercise with him in the floor, as activity makes a big difference in a baby’s appetite. Also fresh air and being outdoors will temporarily increase the appetite, not to mention help the baby sleep good.
Make sure your baby is on a regular feeding schedule so that even if he doesn’t want food at a certain time, his body becomes accustomed to eating then. This will naturally regulate the body’s demand for food.
Again remember that your child, unless prevented by a health issue, will eat what is necessary. Over feeding can cause stomach problems and even eating disorders. Nature is a wonderful thing and your baby’s body knows what it needs. As long as you provide food when the child is hungry and the baby is growing and thriving, you don’t have to worry that he isn’t eating enough.